James, Cavs crush Knicks
Cleveland, OH (Sports Network) – LeBron James scored 21 points and grabbed 10
rebounds, and the Cleveland Cavaliers routed the New York Knicks, 90-68.
Larry Hughes and Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 16 points apiece for the Cavs, who
rebounded from a quick two-game skid, and have now won nine of 11 to pull to
within 1 1/2 games of Detroit for first place in the Central Division, and for
the top playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. Detroit fell to San Antonio
Eddy Curry finished with 27 points and nine rebounds for the Knicks, who fell
a game and a half behind Indiana and Orlando, who are tied and currently hold
the seventh and eighth playoff spots in the East. The New Jersey Nets, who
lost to Orlando on Friday, are one-half game behind the Magic and the
Renaldo Balkman added 12 points for New York.
The Cavs opened the second half with a 13-2 run, blowing open a double-digit
lead that they never relinquished. James kicked off the run with a three-point
play, Sasha Pavlovic and Hughes drilled threes, and Drew Gooden finished it
off with consecutive baskets to put Cleveland ahead 59-40 with 7:37 left.
Cleveland led 76-50 after three quarters, and New York never threatened down
the stretch, as the Cavs led by as many as 24 points on the way to the win.
“We’re struggling offensively,” said Knicks head coach Isaiah Thomas. “I give
the guys a lot of credit for competing and trying as hard as they’re trying
right now but we’ll get it together.”
The Knicks kept it close early, and a Curry layup pulled New York to within
15-14 with 3:07 left. James converted a three-point play on the next
possession, though, kicking off a 10-0 run. Ira Newble capped the stretch with
a trey to boost the Cavs to a 25-14 lead with 1:38 left.
Cleveland led 25-17 after the first quarter
A Curry hook shot pulled the Knicks to within 43-38 late in the second
quarter, but Hughes hit a three with 15 seconds left, and the Cavs took a
46-38 lead into the break.
“We had a real professional attitude today,” said James. “We dropped the last
two, so we just wanted to come in here and take care of home court. We took
care of business.”
New York shot 41 percent from the field, but only made 2-of-14 from behind the
arc (14 percent), and 12-of-24 free throws (50 percent)…Cleveland made 9-
of-17 threes (53 percent).